Concert Review: Palestine National Orchestra debuts in West Bank

Posted on: January 3, 2011

“Today an orchestra, tomorrow a state,” writes Maher Abukahter Friday (12/31) on the Los Angeles Times blog Culture Monster. “With these words, Suhail Khoury, director of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music [which has branches in Ramallah, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem], introduced the Palestine National Orchestra in its debut Friday in the West Bank city of Ramallah. More than 40 Palestinian and foreign musicians came together to make the dream of a national orchestra a reality. The task was not easy, particularly because most of the musicians also play with renowned orchestras around the world. But for most of them, putting together a Palestinian national orchestra is seen as a stepping stone toward building an independent state of Palestine. … For some it was their first time in their ancestral homeland, a dream they did not think will happen in their lifetime. … Swiss conductor Baldur Bronnimann led the orchestra’s debut, playing music by Mozart, Beethoven and others to a packed auditorium [at the Ramallah Cultural Palace]. Mariam Tamari, born to a Palestinian father and a Japanese mother, performed the soprano solo in Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate. The orchestra will have two more performances in the next couple of days, in Jerusalem and Haifa, Israel.”

Posted January 3, 2011